Pentagon budget goes up, while U.S. life expectancy goes down
Last week Congress passed the largest Pentagon budget in U.S. history. The bill now waits for President Joe Biden’s signature.
Our American friends at Common Dreams say this behemoth is 10% bigger than last year’s budget, which was 5% bigger than the year before. In fact, it’s $45 billion more than the Pentagon itself requested. Meanwhile, domestic priorities like childhood hunger programs, public education, expanded Social Security and Medicare, and affordable housing continue to operate on peanuts compared to military spending.
In an unconnected – but definitely related – report this week we learned that American life expectancy is now at its lowest in nearly two decades. The average life expectancy for Americans shortened by over seven months last year, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Deaths from COVID-19 and drug overdoses, most notably synthetic opioids like fentanyl, were the primary drivers of the drop in life expectancy.
It’s rare to see such big changes in life span year to year, says the CDC, but the pandemic claimed nearly 417,000 lives last year — more than even the year before — making COVID-19 the third leading cause of death for the second consecutive year.
“We should also be spending our defense dollars to defend our own citizens from disease, unemployment, environmental damage, and other domestic threats,” said John Feffer, Director of Foreign Policy in Focus.
The same can be said for Canada. The country is in a health care crisis, but the Department of National Defence recently received quiet approval from the government to spend $7 billion on 16 F-35 fighter jets and related gear. During the 2015 election, Justin Trudeau promised to never buy the controversial F-35s.